I’ve been meaning to step inside the fabled doors of Thai Kitchen 101 for many a year. But on so many occasions either Green Chilli (now sadly closed) or Mahdi, (still one of my favourite restaurants on the planet) always got in the way.
Thai Kitchen 101 was starting to become a holy grail to me. Always in reach, but yet unattainable. A bit like Uyuni in Bolivia with my wife.
So after doing the umpteenth quote for holidays to Burma that day, I really couldn’t be arsed to go home and cook. I needed someone else to cook for me, plus I was hungry and I had to eat now now like. There was no way I was going to survive that 90 minute trip home. So after deliberating for a while and ticking off every place between my work and Hammersmith, (as Soho was too far) I was left with only a few options.
Mahdi is always on these lists, but I wanted something with a kick to it. Maybe it was doing all those quotes to Asian countries that I needed a little bit of Asia that night. So this ruled out the Chiswick branch of Franco Manca, maybe Tosa, hmmm could be, may not have the spice I wanted, but it was definitely Asian. Then it dawned on me. An idea was forming in my mind, it was hurting. It’d been a while since I last had one you see. My last great idea was to return home after 6 months in Asia instead of continuing onto China. Dohh!!! That’s why I stopped having them.
To be honest I’m not a great fan of Thai food in the UK, as a lot of what I have tried has always been watered down to suit the gentle western palette. I prefer it the Thai way, harsh and in your face and able to knock your socks off at 30 feet.
The décor inside Thai Kitchen 101 is very pink, and I mean pink, so pink in fact that it reminded me of a chavette’s boudoir.
The menu is pretty vast, which I am starting to hate in restaurants as it takes me forever to narrow down my choices, and makes me wonder how fresh the dishes really are.
The starters were really hit and miss. The hot n sour soup was more or less spot on, with nice sour notes, only needed a bit more heat to put it up there with the best of them.
The fish cakes were really bad. Actually they were pretty rubbish. Soggy, limp, greasy, lifeless and a tad rubbery. I thought I heard a ping just before they brought them out. They really had to be some of the worst fishcakes we’ve ever seen or tasted.
The mussaman curry looked like no other mussaman curry I’d ever seen before. But it tasted really good. It was a lot drier than how I prefer it. I’m still not sure what meat it was, it could have been beef or it could have been mutton. Not really sure. Let’s call it the mystery meat curry. Apart from that the textures were good and the taste was good as well, nice and mild.
The Pad Thai was not bad at all. It’s not the best pad Thai I’ve ever had, but it isn’t far off. There was a nice mix of tart tamarind, pungent fish sauce, heat from the chilli and good textural senses form the crushed peanuts and crunchy bean sprouts. All in all a very good dish. Hats off to the chef.
The service is swift and friendly and with plenty of smiles. I’m just amazed that it took me so long to come here. The next visits will be in quick succession.